I finished up work on Friday, but have been running around like a madwoman ever since, because what with everyone around me having horrible health scares or worse this year, I'm beginning to feel a bit morbid about my trip and wanted to see everyone before I left just in case I died while overseas.
Yeah, that's the inside of my brain right now. It does not sleep. Sleep is for the weak! (Or for the plane.)
I also have apparently decided that I am only allowed to ignore the postal survey if I have written EVERY IMAGINABLE POLITICS BLOG POST before I leave. So in addition to the one from last week, I wrote an epic piece yesterday fact-checking one of those long lists about all the ways countries lost their religious freedom after achieving marriage equality (hint: they really didn't. Also, some people are really paranoid about gender fluidity), and I'm working on four more pieces which will publish at various points while I'm away and after I come back. Because I'm nuts.
Oh, and I posted my vote back on Monday, because that's rather more important than just writing endless essays...
For a different flavour of nuttiness, we're doing the Global Challenge at work this year, and our team is called 'one small step for science', which pretty much mandates an astronaut theme – and so on Saturday, I led my team on our first big group walk to the planetarium. We met in Brunswick, at Handsome Her, a café that has achieved peak Brunswick by being vegan, environmentally sensitive (glass straws, no disposable cups or serviettes, free compost out the back for your garden) and feminist (men have to pay an 18% surcharge, which is donated to a women's shelter, and the walls are covered with vulva-themed art. Except in the bathrooms, which have a menstruation art theme. It's quite... something.). Also hipster - every item on the menu has about twenty different elements, including things like charcoal brioche buns, smoked avocado and strawberry baobab ice cream. Oh, and also all menu items are named for feminist icons. And there are four kinds of non-dairy milk available for your coffee.
It's hilarious. The food's pretty good, too.
Anyway, having stuffed ourselves silly on vegan yummies, we embarked on our journey, which quickly turned into a bit of a death march because everyone had arrived late, which meant we hit Brunch Peak Hour, which meant we left late, which meant we had just over 2 hours in which to walk the 12 km to the planetarium before our show started. Ouch.
We started by walking along the Capital City trail, through Royal Park, until we met Flemington Bridge. Which we hadn't been expecting to meet, but evidently we got onto the wrong trail in Royal Park. Fortunately this was, if anything, a short cut. Then we wandered through the streets of Kensington, and along a rather pretty path between houses and gardens with rather farm like fences that made us feel as though we were being herded like cattle - we were on the site of the old abbatoir, as it turned out!
Next we walked along the Maribyrnong River for a while, past the glorious golden Buddha statue, and then sadly left it behind us to walk along a rather busy road and under the Westgate Bridge. We had to take a slight shortcut at this point, which was a pity, because we missed a nice little footbridge out over the water.
Finally, we reached the planetarium - five minutes before our show was due to start! We rushed in, and got to watch a gorgeous show about stars and how they work, which had really spectacular artwork - they would visualise the star as it would look, then stylise it into an art-deco / stained glass sort of design, and it was just stunning. This was followed by a guided tour of the night sky over Melbourne in September, which referenced the indigenous constellations, and was really fantastic. Finally, we got a special extra video about the Cassini mission to Saturn, which had of course ended the night before. So that was really a nice touch, and we all walked out resolving to do some actual star-watching at a later challenge date.
And then we caught the ferry home, because if you can catch the ferry, you must catch the ferry. That is the rule.
It was spectacular, and fun, and I got 26,700 steps and hurt all over for two days. But it was worth it.
And this is me signing off for now - I have politics blog posts to write and a bag to pack. See you next month!